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A Letter From Ukraine

A personal letter about what’s happening in Ukraine and how SAIC students can help.

By Featured, News

side-by-side screenshots. The one on the left shows an empty basement with two sandbags thrown into a corner. The one on the right shows a scree grab of an Instagram story with a photo of a burnt out apartment building and the caption "my neighborhood."

Screenshots provided by the writer.

“This is the worst day of my life,” said my friend Anya, crying. Like many other people in Ukraine, she spent the night in a bomb shelter, waiting for the shellings on Kyiv that are happening while I’m writing this text. Right now, my family and friends are spending sleepless hours hiding in dusty and cold basements. The same is happening in every city across the country.

On Feb. 24 at 5 a.m., Russia attacked Ukraine, targeting major cities and military infrastructure. Civilian houses, kindergartens, hospitals are under attack, causing the deaths of innocent people in peaceful cities. According to Putin, the pretext for this war is to “de-nazify Ukraine.” Ukraine, a country in Eastern Europe, which actively fought Nazism and lost 8 million people in WWII. Every family in Ukraine was hurt by the war while its whole territory was occupied. My grandfather was a prisoner of the Buchenwald concentration camp, my grandmother survived famine under Nazi occupation. 

Russia started this invasion of Ukraine in 2014, annexing Crimea and occupying our eastern territories. They had done the same in Georgia in 2008, and a number of countries over the last thirty years. As the most recent events have shown, they are not likely to stop unless there is a consolidated response from all the nations that do not share Russia’s predilection for authoritarianism, reactionism, and expansionism.

For Ukrainian people of my generation, the threat posed by Russia deals not only in material destruction and deaths. Russia, with its current leadership, threatens our mere existence. We are not ready to lose everything we have gained as a society since our independence simply because a deranged leader of a neighboring country is convinced that we, Ukrainians, do not exist. Or because the seemingly sane leaders of certain powerful nations believe that we should negotiate with a bully on his terms after he broke into our home and robbed it.

These are the worst days of our lives. I ask all of my SAIC colleagues to support Ukraine now!

I know some people criticize American imperialism, but this is not the case here.  Consider Russia to be a bigger threat. Western sanctions announced on Monday have not worked to stop the war. Despite the great concern and news flood, Ukraine is basically left on its own in this war, defending ourselves.

What you can do now:

Lisa Korneichuk (MANAJ 2023) is an art journalist and editor from Ukraine.

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